Parents sue Peloton after three-year-old child is left with third-degree burns from treadmill

·4-min read
‘He was in so much pain and was so scared’, his parents said (Handout)
‘He was in so much pain and was so scared’, his parents said (Handout)

A mother and father have filed a lawsuit against Peloton claiming their three-year-old son sustained third-degree burns after he became trapped under the company’s treadmill, according to court documents.

In the lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, Kings County on Thursday, Sarah Saadoun and Ygal Saadoun, allege that their son, who is only identified as “SS,” “sustained third-degree burns to large parts of his body when a defective and dangerous treadmill” designed and sold by Peloton “trapped him under its continuously rotating belt” on 5 July 2020.

In addition to the injuries sustained by the toddler, his parents, who live in Brooklyn, New York, also claim the accident caused their son to experience “shock and emotional distress”.

“He was in so much pain and was so scared,” Ms Saadoun told The New York Post of the incident and the two-month recovery process. “Your heart breaks seeing your three-year-old son covered in burns and screaming in pain.”

In the lawsuit, the Saadouns and their attorneys Jordan Merson and Nathan Werksman of Merson Law, PLLC, allege that Peloton should have known that the treadmill was “extremely and unreasonably dangerous, hazardous, and not reasonably safe for its intended purposes and foreseeable uses”.

The complaint against Peloton and its Peloton Tread+ treadmill comes after the exercise company announced voluntary recalls of both its treadmills, the Tread and Tread+, in May 2021, after the machines were involved in the death of a child and numerous other reported injuries.

The recall was issued after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned consumers about the Tread+ treadmill in April, which initially prompted push-back from the company, with Peloton referring to the warnings as “inaccurate” and “misleading”.

However, in a separate statement issued after the death of the six-year-old child, Peloton CEO John Foley had warned customers to keep children and pets away from the $4,200 machines.

Warning: Graphic image below

According to the CPSC, in addition to the death of a six-year-old child, who was “pulled under the rear of the treadmill,” Peloton received “72 reports of adult users, children, pets and/or objects being pulled under the rear of the treadmill, including 29 reports of injuries to children such as second- and third-degree abrasions, broken bones, and lacerations”.

In a statement released alongside the recall, Foley admitted that the company had made a mistake with its “initial response to the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s request that we recall the Tread+”.

Parents sue Peloton after three-year-old sustains third-degree burns from treadmill (Getty / Merson Law / Sarah and Ygal Saadoun)
Parents sue Peloton after three-year-old sustains third-degree burns from treadmill (Getty / Merson Law / Sarah and Ygal Saadoun)

“We should have engaged more productively with them from the outset. For that, I apologise,” he added.

Under the terms of the recalls, consumers who purchased either product were instructed to immediately stop using the treadmills and contact Peloton for a full refund.

Owners of the Tread+ who did not want a refund were also given the option of having the treadmill moved free of charge to a room in their home that cannot be accessed by pets or children, while the company also said it was working to implement software that would automatically lock the device after use.

While speaking with The Independent, the family’s attorney Mr Werksman said that the crux of the issue is that the Tread machines, which he described as “very dangerous,” were “designed for in-home use” and that the company “knew it was going to be in homes with children around”.

“As alleged in the lawsuit, Peloton sells a dangerous treadmill specifically designed to be used at home with children around that literally sucks kids underneath it without stopping. With this lawsuit, the Saadoun family hopes to recover for the trauma caused and raise awareness about the danger of Peloton treadmills,” he added in a press release.

According to Mr Werksman, the family, who is suing for unspecified damages, have not heard from Peloton.

However, in a statement to The Post, a spokesperson for Peloton said: “We are currently reviewing this complaint. We care deeply about the safety of our community at Peloton and take each and every incident report seriously.

“We continue to cooperate with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on this recall.”

The Independent has contacted Peloton for comment.

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